Spondon Bakery - the husband and wife team bringing a taste of Greece to Derbyshire

Vangelis and Sally Giakalis

Vangelis and Sally Giakalis - Credit: Archant

A visit to Spondon Bakery on the outskirts of Derby

Vangelis and Sally Giakalis

Vangelis and Sally Giakalis - Credit: Archant

At a time when mass-produced foods and industrial cooking processes are common practice, it’s a delight to find a company that embraces fresh ingredients and traditional baking techniques.

Vangelis with some of the freshly baked bread he prepares daily

Vangelis with some of the freshly baked bread he prepares daily - Credit: Archant

Since opening in 2012, Spondon Bakery has earned a place on the county food map with its authentic Greek dishes and a wide range of baked goods filling the shelves, all handmade on the premises by husband and wife team Sally and Vangelis Giakalis. However, the roots of this proud Derbyshire business can be traced back to more exotic climes.

‘It’s a bit of a Shirley Valentine story really,’ explains Sally. ‘I grew up in Spondon but always had a desire to live abroad. So in 1992 I decided to “take the leap” and move to Greece. I left with just a suitcase and £500; little did I know that I’d return with a suitcase, a husband and a child!’

After a period spent working on the Greek mainland, Sally was keen to explore the surrounding islands and took a job as a holiday representative in Poros. It was here that she met Vangelis, whose family owned a local bakery and supermarket business. The two fell in love, married and now have two children – daughter Dimitra and son Yiannis.

They converted the business into a taverna but by the turn of the millennium the tourism industry in Greece had begun to decline – ‘Something that has been extremely difficult for small islands,’ Sally acknowledges – and the family made the decision to move back to the UK. As a talented baker, Vangelis found work first at S&A Foods in Derby, then in a national supermarket bakery and as a cook at a local school, but the couple longed for their own business.

‘We’d always liked the idea of becoming self sufficient,’ Sally explains, ‘So we rented an allotment and a small field in Spondon, bought some goats and chickens and started to make our own produce.’ Keen to raise awareness of their smallholding project, the couple organised an Open Day in May 2008 and created their own jams and chutneys for the occasion. ‘The positive response from visitors encouraged us to continue,’ Sally smiles. ‘We started going to Farmers’ Markets and local events, and at the Derbyshire County Show we sold bread, cakes and pastries for the first time.’

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The fledgling business began to expand and in November 2012 Sally and Vangelis secured a shop in Spondon. Located on Moor Street, the cosy premises with a kitchen at the rear are ideally situated. As we chat there’s a steady flow of customers purchasing everything from plump flour-dusted bloomers to lemon drizzle cake, and one family back from Kos who are keen to try the goat curry pie.

‘We’re all about fresh food with zero food miles and virtually no carbon footprint,’ Sally says. ‘We only stock items when they are in season and everything is as locally sourced as possible.’ The shop’s vast offering includes dozens of varieties of bread, cakes, biscuits, pastries and traditional Greek food such as moussaka – baked on-site each morning by Vangelis – as well as jams, chutney, conserves, sauces and chocolates, free-range eggs and even handmade soap – made by Sally using natural oils.

Their customer base now stretches the length and breadth of the country with loyal clients from as far afield as Scotland and Essex. More locally, visitors are enjoying the popular ‘Greek Takeaway’ nights on Fridays. ‘Customers contact us with their order in the morning and by the evening, it’s been freshly cooked and is ready to collect,’ says Sally.

Bringing a taste of Greece to Derbyshire is clearly reaping rewards for the couple. Last summer Spondon Bakery was invited to take part in ITV’s Britain’s Best Bakery after being nominated by members of the public to appear on the programme – ‘An absolute honour,’ Sally remembers. It involved a manic 48 hours of baking and travelling to York to showcase their skills for the show, which aired in January.

As to the future, they are looking to employ an apprentice – ‘Someone who shares our passion for baking and is looking for a long term position,’ Sally adds – and the dream is eventually to extend the premises and open a restaurant. With their enthusiasm for producing diverse and delicious food, such a ‘Spondon Restaurant’ would surely have the recipe for success!

Spondon Bakery is offering Derbyshire Life readers a 10% discount. Visit Spondon Bakery, 7 Moor Street, Spondon, Derby DE21 7E. Tel: 01332 678366

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